Affection with Your Growing Son

As your son matures, you will likely find yourself adjusting to new boundaries of personal space and touching. Imagine this scenario: Meg laughed as she sat at lunch with her girlfriends. “I walked into Aaron's room last week to put away some laundry, and he was naked. I knocked on his door, but I guess he didn't hear me over the stereo. I don't know who was more embarrassed, him or me. He's a man now, not my little boy. The sad thing is that I feel a bit weird about hugging or touching him now. Is that normal?”

As Meg would learn from her friends, mothers often have some adjustments to make as their sons reach physical and emotional maturity. More than one mom has encountered her son coming out of the shower and been surprised at how much has changed. Fathers, too, must adjust to a son's approaching manhood, but the adjustment is often a bit easier, since they experienced it themselves.

Both parents, mothers and fathers, must learn to set new physical boundaries with growing sons. Chances are good that as he grows, your son will still love to have his back scratched, and hugs remain a wonderful way of expressing love and affection. Many boys find, however, that they want a bit more personal space than their parents are used to giving them.

Many mothers notice that their sons become rude and unpleasant as they enter adolescence. Boys who are just becoming aware of sexuality may need to distance themselves from too much closeness with Mom. The more comfortable a boy becomes with his own sexuality, the more likely he is to once again demonstrate affection and connection with his mother.

If your son squirms away from hugs, kisses, or other physical contact, don't take it personally. It takes time for a boy to adjust to his own changing body, his new desires and feelings, and other changes in his physical landscape. Many boys find that the close physical relationship they once enjoyed with their mothers now feels uncomfortable. Mom is, after all, a girl.

Give your son time and space to feel comfortable as a young adult. It often works best to let him set physical boundaries and initiate touch, although you can certainly ask, “How about a hug?”As your son grows up, you will learn to transform your relationship into one between adults and equals. With your encouragement and understanding, your son will learn to have healthy and loving relationships of his own.

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